Today is Monday, the seventh of February, 2022, in the fifth week of Ordinary Time.
Peace be with you!
It was nice to see the temperature above freezing when I got up, this morning. I think that is the first time since mid-week, last week. And one of my weather apps shows the possibility of 70 degrees tomorrow! Judging from the ten-day forecast, I’m hoping that Wednesday-Friday of last week was our “winter.”
There’s not a whole lot on my agenda for today. I’ll be making a trip to a grocery store (hopefully just one), trying to find some bread, this morning, as C wasn’t able to get any at Albertson’s on Saturday. People are funny. We have a two-day winter “storm,” and they buy all the bread. I was actually surprised, last Wednesday evening, because C asked me to try and get some milk on the way home from my library shift (we have a Braum’s on the way home), and I was actually able to get some. In fact, that Braum’s had plenty of milk.
I don’t work today, as Monday is one of the two days that I always have off (three, I suppose, if you count Sunday, but our library is closed on Sundays).
TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
"O Lord, you have mercy on all. Take away my sins, and mercifully kindle in me the fire of your Holy Spirit. Take away my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh, a heart to love and adore you, a heart to delight in you, to follow and to enjoy you, for Christ’s sake. Amen." (Prayer for A Renewed Heart, St. Ambrose)
"Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!" The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah. (Psalms 46:10-11 ESV)
Today I am grateful:
1. for the sunshine 2. that the Lord is always here with me, present in this moment 3. for Psalm 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God" 4. for books and the power of reading 5. for the power of prayer, when coupled with that knowledge of His presence
Changing the order a bit, this morning. If I can remember that I did this, I’m going to follow the gratitude list with the prayer word of the day. Today’s word is “here.” I like this one. That word can mean a lot of things, but, in this context, the meaning is along the lines of “present.” Of course, that word can also mean a lot of things.
Reynolds Price (American poet, dramatist, and essayist) is quoted as saying, “Be here, be now.” God is always “here.” He is always present. And He is always paying attention, which is the thing that I am taking away from this reading today. I need to also be “here,” and “present,” and paying attention to God and to the things I’m reading. This idea convicts me, today, because I am often not fully “here” during some of my devotional times. That seems to especially happen when I’m reading the daily “through the Bible” reading.
But we have all experienced conversations where either the other person or ourselves have not been fully “here.” It’s annoying, isn’t it? Imagine how God feels when we aren’t fully here when we pretend to be praying. That’s not fair, really. We are praying. But we get so easily distracted, and, as we discussed in our church gathering, yesterday morning, we are also far too easily pleased.
So, I’m continuing, this morning, after a prayer to the Holy Spirit to draw me into a place where I am fully present in this moment with the Lord.
(From Pray a Word a Day)
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”
(Psalms 46:10 ESV)
I really like this verse in The Message:
“Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”
(Psalms 46:10 MSG)
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
(Matthew 7:7 ESV)
Both of these verses involve prayer. Which is something that we have already been thinking about. One of the first steps in meaningful prayer, according to Agnes Sanford, in her book, The Healing Light, is contacting God. We set aside any worries, cares, or fears and simply “be still, and know . . .” We become “present” or “here,” in His presence! In doing this, we acknowledge that there is “a source of life outside of ourselves.”
This may sound like a no-brainer, but how often do we just start blurting out prayers without doing that? I understand that, in a life that prays “without ceasing,” as Paul tells us, we wouldn’t necessarily stop to do that step every single time we utter a prayer. Fair point. But I think that, at some point during the day, there must be some kind of moment where we center ourselves in His presence, in the “center of His holiness,” so to speak. We become “here” as He is “here.” That’s my general goal, each morning, but it doesn’t have to be in the morning. There is no specified time for this, in spite of what they tried to teach us back in the seventies. (Some people still call it a “Quiet Time.”)
It will be even more of a goal for me, going forward from this day.
(From Spiritual Classics, by Richard J. Foster and Emilie Griffin)
Father, help me to be “here,” every time that I stop to pray to You. Help me to be fully present when I pause to worship You, in whatever fashion presents itself on a daily basis. That worship may involve music, or it may not. I understand that worship involves more than music; it is more than singing; it is more than praying. My life is supposed to be worship, so I pray that this happens. Let my life be a service of worship to You, a non-stop worship service. I believe this is possible.
Help me to begin each day by being still and knowing Your presence with me. I thank You that You are always here, always fully present with me. You are not distracted by the other 7.5 billion souls on this planet. This, of course, is so far beyond my comprehension that I’m not even going to try to think about it, that You could somehow hear the prayers and thoughts of that many people, and give every single one of them Your full attention. Oops. There I go thinking about it.
Father, as I pray today, help me to be fully present in the moment, thinking deeply about the person for whom I am praying, not being flippant at all. Help me to pray without judging or wondering how they could have avoided the circumstance for which I am praying. That is not my job. It is not my concern.
Help me also to know Your presence throughout the day, even in the smallest, most mundane tasks, such as washing dishes or changing the bed sheets. You are always present with me. That is a glorious thing that we have grown to take for granted.
Glory to You, Lord God of our fathers; You are worthy of praise; glory to You. Glory to You for the radiance of Your holy Name; we will praise You and highly exalt You for ever. Glory to You in the splendor of Your temple; on the throne of Your majesty, glory to You. Glory to You, seated between the Cherubim; we will praise You and highly exalt You for ever. Glory to You, beholding the depths; in the high vault of heaven, glory to You. Glory to You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; we will praise You and highly exalt You for ever. (TeDeum)
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Grace and peace, friends.